Alumni (National Fellow)

Jesse Driscoll

National Fellow
M.A. Georgetown University (2001)
B.S. Georgetown University (2001)
Ph.D. Stanford University (2009)
Dream Mentor:
Mark Beissinger
Princeton University
Fields of Interest:
National Security Policy
Political Economy


Jesse Driscoll is an associate professor of political science and serves as chair of the Global Leadership Institute at the School of Global Policy & Strategy at the University of California, San Diego. He is an area specialist in Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Russian-speaking world. Driscoll’s first book, “Warlords and Coalition Politics in Post-Soviet States,” (Cambridge Studies on Comparative Politics series, 2015), was recognized as the Best Book In The Social Sciences by the Central Eurasaian Studies Society (2016) and also honored with the Furniss Award (2017). Driscoll has a secondary interest in cultivating ethical best practices for responsible data collection from active conflict zones. He is currently in the final stages of a book on Ukraine’s civil war.

Thesis Description:

Exiting Anarchy: Militia Politics and the Post-Soviet Peace
Driscoll’s dissertation demystified the mechanisms of civil war settlement in the Former Soviet Union. By carefully comparing the experiences of two states - Georgia and Tajikistan - Driscoll reconstructed narratives of state renovation based on patterns of local similarities inside new fragile states. He gathered empirical materials for his dissertation over 21 months of fieldwork in Tajikistan and Georgia. With more than 300 field interviews, Driscoll’s dissertation presented a revisionist history of the conflict resolution processes that took place in these two states. He argued that peace emerged in Georgia and Tajikistan through a process that bore only a superficial resemblance to the idealized one imagined by foreign donors. The areas he examined are 1) disarming militias, 2) institutionalizing presidential power, and 3) territorial reintegration.

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